Nicole Melanson ~
I Would Dangle the Moon blends lyrical storytelling and evocative illustrations in this debut picture book by Amber Moffat from MidnightSun Publishing. My budding artist six-year-old was really taken with the illustrations, which follow a mother musing on all the ways she might repurpose the moon and gift it to her daughter, from setting it in a ring to baking it in a cake.
There’s a lovely cadence to Moffat’s text that lends itself to being read aloud, particularly in lines like: where sleep drops like silt to the seafloor, / and the moon is a big bright pearl. It’s also just the right length and degree of challenge for a confident early reader—my son actually read it to me. (My only slight gripe as a grammar pedant is that I would have preferred the subjunctive “If I were…” instead of “If I was…”)
The illustrations were a pleasant surprise, using a darker palette than what you normally see in a children’s book. The layering and shadows create a dreamlike mood that really enhances the sense of fantasy and imagination. Some of them reminded us of woodblock printing, while others called to mind scratch art, where a black tempera surface is scraped off to reveal glimpses of rich color beneath.
The repetition and rhythm of the text in I Would Dangle the Moon, and the fanciful artwork, encouraged me and my son to continue the story between us, wondering what else could be done with the moon. In this respect, this book did exactly what you’d want a picture book to do—entertained us during reading, then stayed with us in such a way that we kept thinking about it and wondering what might come next. I also think this set-up cleverly paves the way for a whole series of imaginative interpretations of natural elements.
I Would Dangle the Moon comes out next week! For more information about the author and illustrator, Amber Moffat, visit her at her website.